Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I enjoy the job. I absolutely enjoy the people. I have an awesome staff. There’s nothing negative. That was part of the challenge about moving on. You almost feel as though you’re quitting and walking away at some point, but the reality is you’re not. Nothing lasts forever.” – Senator Fred Madden on his decision to retire at the end of the legislative session
TOP STORY: Senator Ronald L. Rice has Died
Former Senator Ronald L. Rice passed away after a battle with cancer. A veteran, a Newark police officer, and legislator for over 35 years, Rice retired from the Legislature in August of last year. During public service career, Rice was a fierce fighter and outspoken advocate for social justice measures.
Leaders mourned Rice’s passing:
- Governor Murphy mourned Rice, calling him a ‘fearless and passionate advocate’ and saying his legacy will ‘continue to inspire’.
- Former Governor and Senator Codey said Rice ‘always had my back‘ and ‘will be missed by all’.
- Senator Menendez said Rice was one of the ‘few Americans’ who could ‘bend the moral arc of the universe towards justice’.
- Newark Mayor Baraka called Rice a ‘warrior and diplomat‘, adding that the city is saddened by his passing.
- Newark Council President McIver praised Rice as a ‘true trailblazer’.
- Senate Majority Leader Ruiz mourned Rice as a ‘giant’ and a ‘fierce advocate‘.
- Senate Minority Leader Oroho remembered Rice as being ‘better at speaking from the heart on the Senate floor’ than anyone else.
- Senator Vitale said Rice was a ‘champion‘ for those at-risk.
- Senator Bucco remembered the closeness between Rice and Tony Bucco Sr., saying Rice was ‘one of a kind’.
- Speaker Coughlin hailed Rice as a ‘fierce advocate’ and dedicated public servant.
- The Legislative Latino Caucus praised Rice’s ‘passionate voice – strong, sometimes loud but always authentic’.
- Assemblywoman Sumter praised Rice for his ‘guidance and support’, adding that ‘his work is now our work’.
- Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson said the state lost an ‘icon‘.
- Assemblyman Rooney said that ‘few, if any’ of his colleagues could match Rice’s ‘commitment to helping his fellow man’.
- NJDSC Chairman Jones called Rice a ‘true legend‘ in the state.
- Essex County Sheriff Fontoura praised Rice as a ‘tireless advocate’ for the state.
- The NJBIA hailed Rice’s independence as a free thinker’.
- The NJ Housing and Community Development Network praised Rice as a ‘fierce advocate’ for vulnerable communities.
- The NJEA lauded Rice as a ‘civil rights titan’.
The effects of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse are rippling through the state, according to NJ Spotlight.
A big change is coming for some drivers on the Atlantic City Expressway, according to Burlington County Times.
Rafael Marte was sworn-in to the Bergen County Commissioner Board.
Mercer County Executive Hughes was named the ‘2022 Robert F. Casciola Distinguished American’.
Somerset County is preserving the ‘Eagle’s Nest’ in Watchung Hills.
Union County may change the county seal, according to NJ.com.
Senators Booker and Menendez called on the Starbucks CEO to negotiate with employees in good faith, according to NJ Biz.
A WalletHub study ranks New Jersey the nation’s least federally dependent state in 2023.
ICYMI: Murphy defended CBT decision; Agr. Sec. Fisher retiring; Murphy announced SVB support package; school aid numbers show increases, cuts; Murphy at epicenter of nat. politics; Kean joining ‘Problem Solvers Caucus’
In LD16, the Somerset County GOP endorsed Mike Pappas for Senate and Zhang and Traphagen for Assembly. The Somerset County Democrats endorsed Senator Zwicker, Assemblyman Freiman, and Mitchelle Drulis.
The list of retiring legislators ahead of this year’s election is growing, according to NJ Monitor.
VP Harris visited Bergen County for a fundraiser, according to NJ Herald.
ICYMI: Candidates made the rounds at Gannon event; in LD3, Burzichelli will take on Durr; in LD4, Madden won’t seek re-elec; primary battle btwn Benson, Hughes resolved itself, with some significant ramifications; Middlesex Dems oxygenated and powerful; Benson blowout as Hughes withdraws; in LD24, gas tax grabbing attention; in LD27, Codey, McKeon, Giblin will run as Gill fields slate in redrawn district; Middlesex Dems endorsed candidates; Penacchio won Morris GOP support in already-heated fight; in LD31, HCDO endorsed McKnight for Senate as Cunningham retires; Benson discusses candidacy; in LD14, DeAngelo placed third
In Parsippany, the Democrats announced their council candidates.
In Camden, county and city officials will hold public meetings for the downtown master plan.
In Atlantic City, the Democrats are backing a council slate, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Brick, the council condemned school aid cuts, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Bridgewater, the bond referendum passed, according to TAPinto.
In Chester, a drywell ordinance rewrite satisfied farmers, according to NJ Hills.
In Edison, residents may get to choose a new internet and cable provider, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Far Hills, a settlement cleared the way for the biggest development, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Flemington, the council president and residents called for Councilman Johnston’s resignation after drug charges, according to TAPinto.
In Garwood, the new police chief was sworn-in, according to UC Hawk.
In Hanover, the Eden Cove condo association is suing the town and all affordable unit residents, according to NJ Hills.
In Hoboken, the BOE sent a preliminary budget to the county for review, according to Hudson County View.
In Little Falls, a town hall Zoom was disrupted by inappropriate behavior, according to TAPinto.
In Montclair, the planning board is considering regulating lot sizes across town, according to TAPinto.
In Monroe, voters refused to approve a school project, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Mount Laurel, government is moving to a new location across town, according to Burlington County Times.
In Morristown, the council broke more news on Sanofi, according to Morristown Green.
In Morris Plains, the school referendum passed, according to TAPinto.
In New Providence, the police chief and borough engineer addressed traffic issues, according to TAPinto.
In Oakland, Eid was added to the school holiday calendar, according to the Bergen Record.
In Red Bank, candidate ballot positions were drawn, according to TAPinto.
In Scotch Plains, a new recycler was chosen after a snafu, according to UC Hawk.
In South Orange, property taxes will rise 5.6%, according to TAPinto.
In Springfield, the school referendum passed, according to TAPinto.
In Strathmere as beach season approaches, the beaches are again starved for sand, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Teterboro, two ordinances were introduced, according to TAPinto.
In Totowa, Councilwoman Andriani resigned, according to TAPinto.
In Verona, property taxes will rise 2.14% in the proposed budget, according to TAPinto.
In Washington Township, voters approved a bond referendum, according to NJ Hills.
In Woodbridge, voters approved a school referendum, according to TAPinto.
ICYMI: In Berkeley, Central Regional implemented anti-bullying measures; in South Orange, Collum announced re-election; in Dover, the mayoral race gets crowded, Dodd announced candidacy; in Roselle, Holley announced candidacy for mayor; in East Hanover, GOP council faced public for first time since party switch; in West New York, Sires criticized WNY Forward petitions, Cirillo team fired back; in Mountain Lakes, federal lawsuit ongoing; in Camden, Reyes-Morton says not enough aid for small businesses; in Madison, GOP chair suggests council switch parties
AROUND THE WEB:
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- Gov. Phil Murphy, who is slowly beginning to tout his experience as a banker at Goldman Sachs, drew from that knowledge Tuesday when he told an audience of business leaders that the state’s $10 billion surplus is necessary for the state to have in reserve to battle against any unforeseen crisis. Such as the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank.
Joshua Rosario, The Jersey Journal
- Cash-strapped New Jersey City University may be on its own in escaping its money troubles after its state aid was slashed in Gov. Phil Murphy’s proposed 2024 state budget.
David Mosca, The Jersey Journal
- I had the honor of working with Joe Albright in the years before his death at age 93 last May. Every Monday afternoon, he would call me on the phone to dictate his weekly column on all things New Jersey. The man was a walking encyclopedia.
Matt Arco, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
- The owners of a Bellmawr gym who gained national notoriety after they refused to abide by statewide mandates to close because of the coronavirus pandemic lost their court appeal Wednesday and will have to shell out nearly $124,000 in fines.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- Tom Bracken can gripe and moan with the best of them when it comes to business practices. He’s proven that for years. He also has learned an important lesson along the way: You get more legislators with honey than vinegar.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- After the second edition of the ReNew Jersey Business Summit & Expo was deemed a success by nearly all who attended, there can only be one logical question: Is the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce going to do it again? The deeper question: Is the state chamber going to continue to this event — which was intended to be a temporary substitute for the Walk to Washington? Tom Bracken, the CEO of the chamber, said everything is still being considered.
Steve Novak, For lehighvalleylive.com
- The movement to redesignate the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area as a national park and preserve has lost the support of the New Jersey Sierra Club, an original backer of the project, but the attempt for more prestigious park status will continue.
Andrew S. Lewis, NJ Spotlight
- In early December of 2016, the carcasses of juvenile humpback whales began turning up in the busy waters around the mouth of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay. By the end of February, 10 animals had been found within about a 200-mile stretch of coast between Virginia and North Carolina.
Eric Conklin, Press of Atlantic City
- An Atlantic City attorney and activist is leaving her job as a member of a local law firm to join the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, the state agency said Wednesday. Yolanda Melville is joining the Attorney General’s Office as senior counsel and director of community engagement.
Chris Wlaschin, Special to the USA TODAY Network
- Many readers know by now that Monmouth County determined in January 2023 that some votes from the November 2022 election were double counted. What readers may not know are the facts regarding how this unfortunate mistake came about.
Mike Davis, Asbury Park Press
- The former superintendent of the Central Regional school district will be paid as much as $127,000 and retire on May 1 as part of a separation agreement with the school board, one month after he resigned after revealing personal information about a student who died by suicide to a British tabloid.
Zellie Thomas, NJ Monitor
- Instead of safely addressing mental health crises, police involvement often leads to injury and death. People experiencing a mental health crisis need to be met with support and care, and not excessive force and violence. If we don’t take immediate action to divert mental health crisis calls away from police and toward trained mental health professionals, we will continue to see young Black men and women in this country become hashtags instead of elders.
Eric Scott, NJ1015
- New Jersey has a rich and diverse history. Once the roaming and hunting grounds of prehistoric dinosaurs, humans have lived on the land we now call New Jersey for tens of thousands of years. Here is a brief history of time for the land we know as the great Garden State.
Lilo H. Stainton, NJ Spotlight
- Some of the disturbing conditions that New Jersey investigators found at a Cherry Hill nursing home in October 2021 included dried feces on toilets, walls and floors; discarded tissues, dirty needle covers and other trash littering the halls; torn bedsheets, fly infestations, and broken handrails that reportedly caused at least three residents to fall and suffer cuts.
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